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Motivating DS15 to revise for GCSEs

(41 Posts)
megasord Wed 06-Apr-16 19:11:27

I'm at the end of my tether with my 15 year old son. His GCSEs start in May. He did his mocks were in Jan, he did a very minimal amount of revision, hence results were so-so. All his teachers say he could get As if he put in a bit more effort. He says he wants to do A levels, with a view to going to Uni, to study Economics. Yet despite having this goal, he refuses to revise, is argumentative and aggressive when I try to talk to him about it. He shouts and swears, says I obviously think he's a loser and a failure so what's the point etc. I just want him to spend less time gaming, do a bit of study and get some decent results! I'm at a loss, any ideas as to how to encourage him and avoid the constant arguments?

sulalovesbing Thu 07-Apr-16 10:00:30

You can lead a horse to water...

If you've provided everything a revising child needs to work e.g. A quiet environment, snacks and just being left alone to manage their time themselves, then you can't make him revise. He's got to want to do that himself. As long as you've told him the consequences of not revising then what else can you do?

Short term you could reward him with money if you get him to revise a unit and test him on it.

Long term you could give him £20 for every A grade he gets? It depends on what kind of incentive your son responds to.

I was never told to revise, I just did it and I never got any remuneration for my 7As, 2Bs and a C at GCSE. But I found the success alone and not failing in comparison to my friends was reward enough. What are his friends doing? Maybe you could set a curfew or take away his phone/Xbox at certain times of the day?

MajesticWhine Thu 07-Apr-16 15:07:32

Watching. In the same boat with DD. No work for mocks, average grades. Highly unmotivated, but planning Maths, English, Economics etc for 'A' level confused

I have a suspicion that if I back off and relax then it motivates her to do a bit herself, so I am really trying to contain my anxiety and not nag on at her. I will let you know if it works.

timeforabrewnow Thu 07-Apr-16 15:44:32

Marking place. In same boat with 16 year old DS. Wants to do A levels after.

confused is right. He doesn't seem to acknowledge that A levels are a lot more work

timeforabrewnow Thu 07-Apr-16 15:45:38

Sorry, that should have read 'after GCSEs'.

Tequilamockinbird Thu 07-Apr-16 15:49:54

I'll be completely honest and say that I bribed my DD.

We had a sliding scale so every A Grade she got £25, £15 for every B and £5 for C's. Anything below that she wouldn't get anything for. It did work but you'd need to adjust the amounts and/or grades you pay for depending on ability and predicted grades I think.

leonardthelemming Thu 07-Apr-16 16:16:38

A levels are a lot more work

Much more work than any of them seem to realise (retired teacher here). On the other hand, this is what happened to me at uni...

One year I walked out of an exam. It was too hard, I thought. And guess what? I failed.
I had to wait a whole year before I could have another go. In that time I did no revision whatsoever - didn't even pick up a book. But I stayed until the end of the exam, answered what I could - and I passed. OK, it wasn't top grade, but neither did I just scrape through. Sort of B grade, translating to GCSE levels.
So I do sometimes wonder how effective revision really is. I have in the past told pupils that it's cheating - they should instead focus on understanding the stuff first time round. I got some funny looks. But some favourable comments after, along the lines of "we didn't believe you, but actually..."

Rather late advice for Year 11s now, but for next year...

Realfootyfan Thu 07-Apr-16 16:58:35

Is he worried about trying and failing. What I mean is, somehow subconsciously if he fails without trying it's not as bad as trying and still failing iyswim.

I'd be tempted to try the approach of, 'I really don't mind what you get but I'll be upset, and so will you in the long run, if you don't put the effort in'.

Also, is there any help you can provide for him? Testing him on stuff; helping him put a revision timetable together etc. There's still time if he gets started now. Meanwhile wine and cake for you.

I'll be going through the same next year, Op, and will no doubt be asking for your advice. grin

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Thu 07-Apr-16 17:11:59

I'm in the same boat with dd. She lies saying she's revised and im sure she hasn't. But then gets shouty and aggressive if I dare suggest she could do with doing a bit more.

megasord Thu 07-Apr-16 19:47:45

Thank you all for your help. I think the 'scared of faliure' thing could be true. I'm going to offer cash bribes, then leave him to get on with it...I'll have to stand back, bite my tongue and hope for the best. Hmmm, its soooo bloody HARD!

BG2015 Fri 08-Apr-16 07:07:11

I'm in the same boat. DS16 has organised his room, cleared his desk, made himself a beautiful colour co ordinated timetable, stuck important revision stuff on his walls.....but that's it.

I don't think he's done any revision.

What can you do? No intention of giving money for decent grades. It's up to him.

parissont Fri 08-Apr-16 07:17:59

I'm printing out past papers and paying dd 5 quid per paper blush

She has to do it in test conditions timed. Then I mark them from the mark scheme. I don't know much about chemistry physics and biology but I've said if it's not clear when read against the mark scheme then it won't be clear to the examiner.

We've done chemistry so far and she got an A in unit 1 which really helped her confidence. B in unit 2 and 3. Physics today smile

BG2015 Fri 08-Apr-16 09:07:58

paris my DS would just laugh at me if I suggested that!

But well done if your DD is happy to sit papers.

FinallyHere Fri 08-Apr-16 09:16:36

I really recognise the fearing of failure, and thinking i is better to not try than to try and fail. I know its flawed thinking but i still get that feeling. One things that can help me out if it, is to show myself what i do know. Could you ask DC whether there are any bits they enjoyed? Get them to tell you about them.

Play dumb, avoid taking over and telling them about it, or what they are doing wrong or what could be better. Just let them tell you what they know. And on't even suggest they go and find out mire but if they feel good about knowing something, that would be a win. And it might encourage them to find out more. It's a much better place from which start...

Oh, and my mother could always find some chores for me to do, if i wanted a 'break', so i was happy to continue....

redexpat Fri 08-Apr-16 09:42:31

Our maths teacher told us that there is nothing worse than coming out of an exam knowing that you could have done better had you worked a bit harder, or done more revision. Frankly that was the most convincing argument because it wasn't linked to results but personal ability.

bigTillyMint Fri 08-Apr-16 12:29:36

Doing past papers is a really good way of preparing for GCSEs.

paris my DH (sec teacher) and DD (doing A levels) both say that marking their own past papers is really useful as they can see where they went wrong and what the actual answer being looked for was. Well done her for doing them (and you for finding a way of getting her to do them!)

parissont Fri 08-Apr-16 13:15:48

I mark them with her. The examiners report is really useful. It's actually been quite encouraging. Thus morning she did a physics paper and really did quite badly. Got 20 out of 60. She was quite downcast until we looked at the grade boundary and that would have been a C smile

parissont Fri 08-Apr-16 13:16:57

Sorry to hijack thread but she is enjoying them. I think because it's structured. She gets loads of choc biscuits as well smile

AnyFucker Fri 08-Apr-16 17:24:23

can anyone recommend any good sites for past papers ? Where do you find them ?

parissont Fri 08-Apr-16 18:22:40

We've just done a couple per subject on the board website. Google the board, subject and past papers and it should come up.

AnyFucker Fri 08-Apr-16 18:25:31


AnyFucker Fri 08-Apr-16 18:25:55

the exam board should be on his list of exam dates, right ?

bigTillyMint Fri 08-Apr-16 18:29:49

Yep. Make sure you get the right exam board, because questions/papers can be significantly different, even for something like Maths.

OneMagnumisneverenough Fri 08-Apr-16 19:25:46

Does he actually know how to study?

I think they find it daunting just looking at a pile of books/notes with no idea where to start. Do a study schedule for half hours per subject at a time - download Pomodoro timer and maybe get him to do some mind maps if he knows how to or make some decent notes - concentrate on things he understands less.

Reading stuff over is next to useless - he needs to actually make notes, do practice questions etc.

MajesticWhine Fri 08-Apr-16 21:13:24

parissont - lucky you - practice papers are definitely the way to go but anything like this I suggest is met with eye rolls and muttering or worse.

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